Game Predictions & Player Projections - SD vs. IND

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: SD 30, IND 31 (Line: IND by 3)

UPDATE: Donte Moncrief has a fractured scapula and is out for 4 to 6 weeks,. Antonio Gates never practiced due to his hamstring and will not play. That introduces the rookie Hunter Henry as the starter for at least this one week.

The 1-1 Chargers head to Indianapolis without Danny Woodhead, Stevie Johnson or Keenan Allen and most probably someone else will not return from the trip still intact. The 0-2 Colts have done well on offense but lead the NFL in points allowed after only facing the Lions and Broncos. Who cares who wins this - there are going to be a ton of fantasy points coming out and yet maybe none belonging to team defense.

San Diego Chargers

1 @KC 27-33 10 MIA ---
2 JAC 38-14 11 BYE ---
3 @IND --- 12 @HOU ---
4 NO --- 13 TB ---
5 @OAK --- 14 @CAR ---
6 DEN --- 15 OAK ---
7 @ATL --- 16 @CLE ---
8 @DEN --- 17 KC ---
9 TEN ---      
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vs Rush Catch Pass

Pregame Notes: The Chargers are still cranking out the points despite the constant trickle of lost players and the upcoming schedule is very light until Week 6 when the Broncos show up. Melvin Gordon is suddenly a scoring machine while Antonio Gates clearly shows his age. The Chargers defense already ensures that they have to post a lot of points to stay in games and so long as Philip Rivers remains upright, they have the ability to remain competitive.

QUARTERBACK : Philip Rivers has not thrown for many yards - just around 230 yards on average but he has five passing touchdowns and no interceptions. He's getting better run support but the loss of Danny Woodhead is going to start showing. He provided a nice outlet from the backfield that Gordon cannot fill. Losing Woodhead actually changes this offense more than losing a starting wideout.

RUNNING BACK : The Chargers signed Dexter McCluster to take the roster spot of Danny Woodhead who landed on injured reserve but there is no replacing the multi-dimensional weapon that Woodhead represented. Melvin Gordon came to life this year though as the primary rusher and now has three touchdowns after never scoring his entire rookie season. He's averaging a respectable 4.2 yards per carry and even caught three passes last week. The Chargers will have to lean on him more with Woodhead out.

Kenneth Farrow moves up the depth charts and he ran four times for 13 yards last week after Woodhead left. The ex-Houston Cougar was a four-year player there and ended with the second best school record with 34 rushing touchdowns. He had eleven 100 yard games and then shined in the preseason to make the team as an undrafted free agent. At 5-8, 219 lbs he was supposed to replace Branden Oliver but now could replace Woodhead. He's worth a grab and stash just to see what happens.

McCluster worked with Ken Whisenhunt when he was the headcoach with the Titans and already knows most of the playbook. He will see action very soon.

WIDE RECEIVER : Dontrelle Inman has two games with just one catch each and remains a nonfactor. Travis Benjamin comes off a big week with 115 yards and two scores on six catches while Tyrell Williams ended with 61 yards and a score on three receptions last week. That duo is carrying the passing game. the loss of Woodhead is likely to force even more passes down to wide receivers.

TIGHT END : Antonio Gates is hanging around for record building but he only has a total of six catches for 35 yards after two weeks and he scored on the Jaguars. Gates had the one nice catch in the endzone but has been a nonfactor this year.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: What defense? The Colts rank dead last against running backs since they already gave up five touchdowns to the position. Gordon should be a lock for at least a decent yardage game with a shot at big stats with touchdowns. And the Chargers will want to run the ball as much as they can. Farrow is worth watching but not considering for a start.

The Colts have only faced the Lions and then Trevor Siemian with the Broncos. Consider Rivers, Benjamin and Williams all worth a start this week and Gates could easily score despite what will be meager yards and catches. The Colts are the gift to fantasy football and just what the Chargers need to sort out what they have to work with now.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points SD 11 4 12 20 13 9
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 17 32 10 18 30 31

Indianapolis Colts

1 DET 35-39 10 BYE ---
2 @DEN 20-34 11 TEN ---
3 SD --- 12 PIT ---
4 @JAC --- 13 @NYJ ---
5 CHI --- 14 HOU ---
6 @HOU --- 15 @MIN ---
7 @TEN --- 16 @OAK ---
8 KC --- 17 JAC ---
9 @GB ---      
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vs Rush Catch Pass

Pregame Notes: The Colts dropped their second game in predictable fashion in Denver but back home this is about as soft of a matchup as they can expect. The defense and especially the secondary is undermining the offense and that's going to be hard to compensate for. But the schedule is at least lighter for the next three weeks and this is a chance for the Colts to climb back into contention. The bleeding has to stop and wins must be logged over the next three games or the season turns bad.

QUARTERBACK : Andrew Luck followed up the 385 yard, four touchdown opener with just 197 yards and one score in Denver when he threw an interception and lost a fumble. But back at home versus a weak secondary, Luck should be back to his high scoring ways while hoping that he can do at least a little more than what his defense is going to give away.

RUNNING BACK : Frank Gore still manages to post moderate yardage and even caught a touchdown last week But he has yet to run for more than 59 yards and even lost the short yardage score to Robert Turbin. Gore is getting most of the workload but that still isn't much since the Colts are always in pass-mode by the second half.

WIDE RECEIVER : Donte Moncrief injured his shoulder in the loss to the Broncos and he won't play this week. He may be out for a while depending on the MRI results. That leaves T.Y. Hilton who never scores anymore and Phillip Dorsett who logged four catches for 94 yards in the home opener. Of the five passing touchdowns, only one came to a wideout and that was Moncrief. The speedy (4.3/40) Dorsett will get a chance to shine if Moncrief misses much time. He's worth grabbing from the waiver wire if he is there just in case. Luck is back to scoring with his tight ends but needs the wideouts for the yardage at the least.

TIGHT END : Five touchdown passes and three have gone to tight ends. Dwayne Allen has the slight lead in yardage while Jack Doyle caught two scores in the opener versus just one for Allen. Neither are likely to gain much yardage but their role as a scorer makes them worth covering a bye week. This week should be a better indicator if that action in Week 1 was how the offense prefers to score or if it was just situational response to playing against the Lions.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Chargers may rank poorly versus running backs bit that as only because of the 129 receiving yards that Spencer Ware hung on them. They have been decent against the run and only allowed a total of 22 rushes by opponents this year. Expect mediocrity again by Gore.

The Chargers secondary allowed at least 320 yards per game and two scores and that was from the likes of Alex Smith. Expect a very healthy game by Luck this week that should involve both T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett. The strength of the Chargers defense is their corners though and they have not allowed more than 64 yards to an opponent. Have to like both tight ends this week since the Chargers allowed around 90 yards to the position in both games.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 4 11 24 2 16 30
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 31 29 15 30 6 6

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